VIDEO: Battle hots up to become area’s new MP

Apparently, it was one of the warmest days of the year in Horncastle yesterday (Tuesday) - and the temperature was certainly raised a few degrees in the town’s Market Place.

Six of the seven candidates battling to become the area’s next MP took part in a Hustings.

Colin Mair (UKIP) Matthew Brown (Lab) Victoria Atkins (Cons) Romy Rayner (Green) Daniel Simpson (Ind) Peter Hill (Looney) EMN-150421-120630001

Colin Mair (UKIP) Matthew Brown (Lab) Victoria Atkins (Cons) Romy Rayner (Green) Daniel Simpson (Ind) Peter Hill (Looney) EMN-150421-120630001

The seventh hopeful - Peter E. Hill from the Monster Raving Loony Party - was present but said he had not been allowed onto the stage in the event which was organised by the BBC.

The six on stage were Victoria Atkins (Conservatives), Matthew Brown (Labour), Lisa Gabriel (Liberal Democrats) Colin Mair (UKIP), Romy Rayner (Green Party) and Daniel Simpson (Lincolnshire Independents).

Listeners to BBC Radio Lincolnshire had submitted questions.

The first topic was education with Victoria Atkins saying she had visited many schools in the constituency on her campaign trail.

Lisa Gabriel (Lib Dem) being interviewed by BBC Radio Lincolnshire EMN-150421-120605001

Lisa Gabriel (Lib Dem) being interviewed by BBC Radio Lincolnshire EMN-150421-120605001

She felt it was important for headteachers to be given more responsibilty for what is actually taught in schools.

She said: “I’m sure Nicki Shore at Banovallum School knows what is more important locally than people working in Whitehall.”

Lisa Gabriel said she felt the national curriculum needed to be “slimmed down” but said it was important to focus on Maths and English.

Matthew Brown said the last thing anyone needed was a “hotch potch system” but he did call for teachers to be given some freedom when it came to the curriculum.

Daniel Simpson highlighted the importance of the three R’s while Colin Mair said teachers were often working 70 hours a week but were spending too much time filling in forms - rather than actually teaching pupils.

Romy Rayner said their needed to be “more flexibility’ in schools and suggested what she called “alternative methods” of education could be introduced. She added: “One size fits all is not always the best plan.”

Candidates went on to debate the NHS with Victoria Atkins defending the Government’s record, saying the Tories had invested £7.3billion over the last five years.

She said that as a type one diabetic, she relied on the NHS every single day and much of the criticism was unfair.

All the candidates called for more investment locally to protect frontline health services.

There was also a lively debate following a question asking whether candidates should be from the area.

Matthew Brown said he was “born and bred in Lincolnshire” and proud of it. He said his strong local links meant he was more aware than anyone of the issues that mattered locally.

Victoria Atkins stressed she had moved her family into the constituency which showed her commitment - even though she was originally living outside the area.

At least two of the hopefuls said it was “wrong” parties parachuted in candidates.

Daniel Simpson said that as he had served as a district councillor since 2003, he was also aware of local issues.

*Peter E Hill claimed he had been told he could not join the other candidates on stage because he represented a “minor party.”

Asked whether he was disappointed, he said: “I’ll use a quote from Gone With The Wind. Quite frankly, I could not give dam.”

An interview, pre-recorded with Mr Hill, was broadcast and he celebrated by dancing around the Market Place!